Outer Space Book Review

I was a little concerned that we wouldn’t find enough space books with updated Pluto information, but we actually found several.  We rowed Space Boy, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and There’s No Place Like Space.

The Planets
by Gail Gibbons

After explaining what a planet is, how we discovered them, and a basic description of the solar system, the book dives into a more in depth planet study.  Beginning with Mercury, each planet is described by size, material, year length, distance from the sun and defining characteristics. My preschooler LOVED all the details about the planets and quoted them for weeks.  Pluto is included, but correctly classified as a dwarf planet.


by Gail Gibbons

This book gives a solid background on stars: sizes, distances, and colors.   We spent quite a bit of time on the page that shows why we see different constellations at different times of year.  We also used that picture to explain why we see different constellations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.  My preschoolers favorite part was the constellations.  The history and outline of the Big and Little Dippers, Orion and Canis Major are all covered.  The book also compares refracting and reflecting telescopes.  The back of the book has a “Stargazing History” timeline.

Galaxies, Galaxies!

by Gail Gibbons

I didn’t realize I had 3 books by the same author when I was gathering them for this unit, but we clearly like her style.  I appreciate how informative she is, without overwhelming the kids.  In this book she covers the Milky Way, gravity, and the solar system.  She also includes her refracting/reflection telescope comparison in this book.  I had no idea that galaxies were classified by shape, but she discusses the differences between spiral, barred spiral, elliptical, lenticular, and irregular.  She explains how we discover more information through telescopes (both on earth and in space) and space probes.

There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System
by Tish Rabe

Join Cat in the Hat on one of his wacky adventures, this time through the solar system.  He covers each planet with a little rhyme like,
“Next, here is Mars.
It’s the color of rust.
We sneeze here because
it is covered with dust.”
He also teaches us about constellations, the sun, and the moon.  We studies this book Five-in-a-row style using the plan here.

Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System
by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

We read a similar book about dinosaurs, so my son was excited when I read the title on this one.  The book basically reviews things that we used to believe about the solar system, but now know are not correct.  For example, believing the Earth was the center of the solar system, that Martians lived on Mars, and that Pluto was a planet.  After explaining the original theory, the book explains the train of thought and discovery that led to the truth.  Every so often it reaffirms “Boy, we they wrong about the solar system.”  My favorite part it how it ends, encouraging kids to become scientists or astronauts who make us say, “Boy, were we wrong about the solar system.”  I love how the book emphasizes that just because we think we’ve figured it out now, doesn’t mean our opinions won’t change.

Hare and Tortoise Race to the Moon

by Oliver J. Corwin

In this retelling of Aesop’s fable Tortoise and Hare are best friends that agree on a race to the moon.  In addition to Hare’s speed advantage, in this book Hare has a lot of money and is able to buy a top of the line spaceship.  Tortoise, on the other hand, builds a spaceship himself out of miscellaneous parts.  Since Hare’s spaceship is so fast, after takeoff he visits the North Pole, the African plains, the rain forest, and takes a nap in the clouds before getting serious about flying to the moon.  In the meantime, Tortoise putt, putt, putts slowly to the moon.  As in the original story, by the time Hare gets serious about the race, Tortoise as almost to the finish.  I love how although Tortoise wins, he doesn’t gloat but instead invites Hare to play with him on the moon.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
by Iza Trapani

Beginning with the beloved children’s song, the book adds other verses as a little girl wishes on a star and travels throughout the solar system before returning to Earth.  We both read and sang the book.  My son’s favorite part was when she hangs off the rings of Saturn as if they were a jungle gym.  My toddler loves how the stars “shine” on each page.  We rowed this book using this plan.

Our Stars
by Anne Rockwell

 This is a very basic book, great for older toddlers or young preschoolers.  It covers stars, constellations, the planets and their orbits, the phases of the moon, comets, meteors, telescopes and satellites.  Each page has a large picture and just a couple sentences of explanation.

If You Decide To Go To The Moon
by Faith McNulty

This is a fantastic book!  It begins, “If you decide to go to the moon, in your own rocket ship, read this book before you start.  It will tell you how to get there and what to do after you land…”  The book goes on to teach about gravity, weightlessness, how the moon formed, walking on the moon, and returning to Earth.  It’s all taught from the perspective of a child experiencing it.  For example, while traveling to the moon the child is warned, “When you are thirsty, don’t try to pour orange juice into a glass.  With everything weightless, it would collect into floating liquid balls and become an orange juice blob.  You can drink out of a squeeze bottle instead.” I love how instead of giving a definition of weightlessness, the book gives a practical application.  The book is a little long, but the gorgeous illustrations and captivating adventure are sure to keep your child’s attention.

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